If there’s one thing Telltale has proven with their adaptation of Gotham’s winged crime fighter it’s that they’re not afraid to divert drastically from the pre-existing lore. In season one, Thomas Wayne went from a bastion of good will to one of the city’s most notorious criminals, The Penguin became a chummy old school friend and Vikki Vale donned her own mask to take a new spot in Batman’s Rogues Gallery. Season two is prepared to toy even further.
Episode 1 – Enigma opens with Bruce Wayne playing at James Bond in a Gotham City casino. He’s following arms dealer Rumi Mori, when his sleuthing is interrupted by the appearance of The Riddler – though a much older and more ruthless interpretation than we’ve come to expect. He interrogates Rumi and takes some hostages, giving Bruce enough time in the chaos to slip out the room and into the Batsuit. An all out brawl ensues. When the dust settles, Amanda Waller and The Agency stroll in to take over the investigation into The Riddler and quiz the Bat.
Much like the previous season, the episode then flicks back and forth between Bruce and Batman. The man behind the mask spends time rebuilding his business after Cobblepot’s shenanigans in charge and dealing with surprise visits from John Doe – the Joker’s nascent form. Where these interactions are going to lead sets up the season’s most intriguing storyline.
As if to emphasise this, Telltale has added a way to track your relationships with important characters in the game. You’re no longer just told when decisions you’ve made will be remembered by each person, but also if that choice you’ve made has affected your relationship with them. It’s a neat touch that adds a whole extra layer of consequence to your actions and will have you fretting over how the simplest encounters could drastically alter how Bruce and Batman are perceived.
Speaking of the Caped Crusader, you’ll get down to some serious fisticuffs in some slicker and less choppy quick-time event riddled combat in the debut episode of season two. There are brief pauses for some easy detective work too, which is much the same crime scene exploration and evidence investigation as the first season. It’s a solid – if a little safe – formula.
If there are flaws, the biggest is how under-utilised The Riddler is considering his puzzles and conundrums are ripe video game material. Episode one teases you with a puzzle box and a dangerous trip into a Riddler hideout, but the solutions to both are so obvious and straightforward that they feel underwhelming. What it lacks is a real meaty challenge to get into.
Nevertheless, this is a strong opener overall. There are some exciting set pieces – both as Bruce as Batman – as well as some tantalising story threads to be explored in future episodes. That same confidence to tinker with our expectations from a Batman story is what stands out most, though, and Enigma certainly delivers there. It’ll give even the most knowledgeable Batman veterans something worth sticking around for when the credits roll.
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Release: Out Now
Formats: PS4, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android